35mm Film Bag




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Historically, 35mm film was made of triacetate, but newer film is made of mylar. This newer film is surprisingly durable, and can be pieced together to construct handbags and tote bags in a variety of sizes and shapes. The steps that follow document the construction of a medium-sized tote bag, but you can vary the measurements to make any type of bag you'd like.

Also check out the photos-only 'ible of this super cool bag!

Step 1: You'll Need. . .

Step 2: Cutting Strips and Piecing

To construct this bag, the following strips of film are needed:
  • 14 strips 12" long (7 per side)
  • 2 strips 12" long (for the handles)
  • 2 strips 26" long (for the sides and the bottom)
  1. Begin by threading your needle and overlapping the sprockets of two of the 12" strips
  2. Stitch through the sprockets to hold the two strips together (an up-and-down type stitch is suggested)
  3. Add another strip overlapping one of the two existing strips and sew through the sprockets to connect the strips
  4. Continue until you have affixed 7 strips to each other to form a sheet of film
  5. Repeat with the other 7 12" strips
  6. Fold up approximately an inch of each side of each of the two sheets so that the cut ends are not exposed

Step 3: Sides, Bottom, and Handles

  1. Overlap the edges of the 26" long pieces and sew through the sprockets to connect them to one another (an up-and-down type stitch is suggested)
  2. Align the cut edge of the side piece with one of the sheets and sew through to connect them (an over-hand stitch is suggested)
  3. Continue around the bottom edge sewing through the sprockets before sewing up the third side
  4. Repeat to affix the second sheet to the side/bottom pieces
  5. Position the remaining 12" pieces where you would like your handles and sew to secure them to the bag (an up-and-down type stitch is suggested)
  6. Show off your awesome new bag!
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    33 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I wish I'd seen this earlier today. I was at an estate sale where they had some 8mm home movies going for a song. That would work just as well, yes? (Assuming it's the same material).

    1 reply

    I'm not positive if it is the same, since it depends a lot on when the film is from, but it would certainly make for a pretty cool project! Sorry you missed the opportunity to pick up those films!

    i work at a movie theater where we have lots of extra film normally. we dont have any right now, but in april we're gonna have more, so i thinking about making a belt by putting them on top of each other, instead of sewing them next to each other.

    2 replies

    Get some bright white leader and put a few layers under the top piece to make the image show. You'll have to find a particularly light scene to make this work since you won't have any light passing through the film. I used to make a series of bowls from movie film and found that scenes with lots of sky or flames and explosions work well.

    You'll also probably need an army or boy scout type buckle with a sliding clamp since the film would probably tear immediately with a traditional buckle.

    Good luck, and don't forget to post!

    Thanks for the fantastic Instructable! I've recently used it too make this bag for my girlfriend. Oh, and apologies for the dirty floor in the photograph...


    1 reply

    I think a wallet would be very cool!

    As noted above, I was able to track down a trailer on eBay - there are lots of them available there but newer ones are suggested since they're cheaper and are more likely to be mylar film.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I think this would be even better if you could see the images- maybe white fabric backing or in between layers. :) Loooks fun!

    1 reply

    While it may be difficult to tell from these photos, you actually can see the images since the bag is only a single layer of film. You could certainly line it though if you chose to.

    While older film stock (non-mylar) was/is super flammable, mylar film is less so (at least from what I've read online). I haven't tried to set any on fire, but I don't imagine it would be significantly more flammable than a cotton or other cloth bag (if someone has more info, please do let me know).

    Thanks for the question!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    There are essentially three generations of film supports ("bases") that have been used over time. The first is cellulose nitrate, which is the extremely flammable one because when it's not being used for film it's known as guncotton.

    Since the mid-1930s cellulose acetate films began to replace nitrate, with cellulose triacetate ending up replacing nitrate film in full in the West by the early 1950s. All was well and good, however we have come to learn that acetate film has its own problems; namely that under certain storage conditions acetic acid can be released from the base and cause the film to disintegrate.

    The third, which has been around for as long as acetate but didn't come to much use until the early '90s, is polyester (Kodak's trade name for it is ESTAR). Its main advantages are that it's a) not flammable (but it will melt), and b) it's incredibly resistant to failure under tension or sheer force (but the downside is that an ESTAR jam in a projector will more likely destroy the projector rather than the film).

    Provided you are using new trailers you will be fine. I'd suggest only using trailers for another reason too: older trailers, even pre-2000, are becoming increasingly harder to get for those people who actually want to preserve them or actually show them.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I feel I should also point out that it's not the 35mm part that makes the film flammable ;) Nitrate film was made in many sizes, including sheet films for still cameras.